Washington DC’s & Philadelphia’s Approaches to Combined Sewer Overflows

Philadelphia and Washington DC have similar combined sewer system (CSO) overflows that must be cleaned. Both Cities are working hard to meet the challenges of improving water quality, Washington is building an 18 mile tunnel system to capture and treat their CSO overflows, Philadelphia is working hard to reduce the volume of CSO overflows with the Green City, Clean Water Program.

Here’s  a nice, family friendly video on DC’s program. (link)

Which program will improve water quality more, Philadelphia’s or Washington DC’s?

Based on my Tookany – Tacony Creek trash assessments, I am very concerned that Philadelphia’s program ignores the serious street litter – creek trash – marine debris problem. The Washington DC approach has the advantage of capturing the street litter for treatment. So from a creek trash standpoint, Washington DC’s approach is better.

Cheltenham Township residents in the Rock Creek and Mill Run sub-watersheds, Philadelphia residents and Tacony Creek Park visitors should be very worried about how Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters Program addresses the creek trash – marine pollution problem.

If Philadelphia enhances the Green City, Clean Water Program with a meaningful,  measurable clean streets initiative, there is no doubt that Philadelphia and Cheltenham would see significant reductions in creek trash. Without clean – litter free streets, sidewalks and open space, Cheltenham and Philadelphia creek visitors will continue to have a trash littered Tookany – Tacony Creek.

Philadelphia can solve two long term, inter-related problems, street litter and combined sewer overflow, with and integrated Clean – Green City, Clean Waters Program.  Then there would be no doubt which program is better!!

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